Marathon County Public Library

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Staff Reviews / Book Reviews

Check out these book reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring reviews of fiction and nonfiction for adults, children and teens! These book reviews also are published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.

"Land of Love and Drowning" by Tiphanie Yanique

'Land of Love and Drowning' by Tiphanie Yanique

★★★★★ Set in the beautiful and enchanting Virgin Islands, this is a story of love, loss, family, and magic. We begin in the early 1900s when the Bradshaw children are small and tragedy leaves them orphaned. They must face poverty and hardship together in order to survive. Their lives tangle around those of lovers, family members, children, and strangers. They fall from privilege to poverty, rise up to self-sufficiency, face racism and war, disco ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Land of Love and Drowning" at Goodreads.com. »

"Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts" by Jeni Britton Bauer

'Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts' by Jeni Britton Bauer

★★★★★ Any baker or person desiring desserts need look no further. This collection of unique and tasty treats contains great descriptions, illustrations, and instructions for anyone wanting to try out a new treat. Although as a dairy intolerant person I am unable to make Jeni's recipes, her book made me (as always) wishing that I could, and it's sure to be a great resource for those who can enjoy (in my opinion) the best part of a meal! ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts" at Goodreads.com. »

"Life After Life" by Kate Atkinson

'Life After Life' by Kate Atkinson

★★★★ Ursula Todd is born in England on a cold February night in 1910, with a very unique ability, to live, die, and be born again in a continuous cycle. Ursula falls into this pattern unaware at first, then with a sort of permanent deja vu, and eventually with acceptance. It is a tale of love, loss, war, and the power to take control of one's life. This novel raises the question, "What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?" ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Life After Life" at Goodreads.com. »

"Year of No Sugar" by Eve O. Schaub

'Year of No Sugar' by Eve O. Schaub

★★★ A more accurate title is Year of Reduced Sugar! The author and her family still indulge in a sweet treat every month, and each family member is granted an exception item, which contains sugar. (The author chose red wine.) Sugar really is in almost everything we consume (even bacon and chicken broth!), and the family's quest to attend community events, holiday dinners and even go out to eat without eating added sugar is both hilarious and s ...

Reviewed by Kathleen K. Read more reviews of "Year of No Sugar" at Goodreads.com. »

"You Are Not Special and Other Encouragements" by David McCullough Jr.

'You Are Not Special and Other Encouragements' by David McCullough Jr.

★★★★ McCullough’s book came after a similarly themed graduation speech of 2012. His thoughts are well received and regarded because he speaks from the position of an educator of nearly 30 years (Interestingly he spent nearly a decade teaching in the Hawaii high school where President Obama admitted to spending his high school years mostly getting high and “by” academically, confirming McCullough’s thoughts on the subject.). McCullough ...

Reviewed by Marsha Y. Read more reviews of "You Are Not Special and Other Encouragements" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Organic Family Cookbook: Growing, Greening, and Cooking Together" by Anni Daulter

'The Organic Family Cookbook: Growing, Greening, and Cooking Together' by Anni Daulter

★★★★★ What a refreshing cookbook and way to think about healthy eating! This cookbook really makes you feel as though you can eat healthy and organic fairly easily. There are excellent ideas for meals and snacks that are easy and don't require strange sounding, organic ingredients that can sometimes break a budget. The pictures are great and the book also includes little tips on how you and your family can live a healthier, green lifestyle....e ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "The Organic Family Cookbook: Growing, Greening, and Cooking Together" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Son" by Jo Nesbø

'The Son' by Jo Nesbø

★★★★★ Jo Nesbo, an award-winning author from Norway, has written another gripping thriller. The novel takes place in the seedy underworld of Oslo, but begins in a state-of-the-art prison. Prisoner Sony Loftus has a heroin addiction which has a steady supply, as long as he takes the fall for some gruesome murders in the area, even while he still remains a prisoner. The connections in this unlikely scheme go all the way to the top. Sonny cares lit ...

Reviewed by Karen J. Read more reviews of "The Son" at Goodreads.com. »

"Goodnight Darth Vader" by Jeffrey Brown

'Goodnight Darth Vader' by Jeffrey Brown

★★★ Darth Vader is trying to put his twins Luke and Leia to sleep but they have the usual questions and demands of most kids at bedtime. He tells them rhyming stories about droids, wookies, Han Solo, Boba Fett and other familiar Star Wars characters. While this is not great literature, this cute book will be devoured by Star Wars fans, old and young alike, who are continually searching for more books about their favorite characters. ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Goodnight Darth Vader" at Goodreads.com. »

"Pizza on the Grill Expanded: 100+ Feisty Fire-Roasted Recipes for Pizza & More" by Elizabeth Karmel

'Pizza on the Grill Expanded: 100  Feisty Fire-Roasted Recipes for Pizza & More' by Elizabeth Karmel

★★★★★ What a delicious and perfectly timed cookbook for summer! Just when you thought homemade pizza couldn't get any better, now you can make it on the grill! Delicious recipes and step-by-step training for proper technique make this cookbook a must read for anyone who enjoys pizza or grilled food. ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Pizza on the Grill Expanded: 100+ Feisty Fire-Roasted Recipes for Pizza & More" at Goodreads.com. »

"Ferry Tail" by Katharine Kenah

'Ferry Tail' by Katharine Kenah

★★★★ Walter, the ferry dog loves his perfect job. He greets ferry-goers, fetches the captain’s morning newspaper, tastes the cook’s food, watches babies and barks at seagulls. The captain’s cat is the only one aboard he does not like. One day he doesn’t feel needed and decides to leave and try life on the island. This sweet, simple picture book will appeal to everyone, but especially to children who have either have been on a family vac ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Ferry Tail" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Castle Behind Thorns" by Merrie Haskell

'The Castle Behind Thorns' by Merrie Haskell

★★★★★ Waking up in the fireplace ashes of an unfamiliar and very broken castle, Sand discovers that nothing lives here, except the huge, dense thorny brambles that enclose the whole exterior, making it impossible to leave. He begins mending broken objects and soon discovers Perrotte, a girl his age and heir to the castle who has awakened from the dead. They become friends as they uncover secrets about the castle’s history and search for freedo ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "The Castle Behind Thorns" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Girl with the Silver Eyes" by Willo Davis Roberts

'The Girl with the Silver Eyes' by Willo Davis Roberts

★★★★★ Ten-year-old Katie Welker knows that she’s different in more ways than just having those unusual silver eyes which freak other people out. She can move things just by thinking about them and read the minds of cats, but what else might she be capable of. After she discovers that her mother took a drug while she was pregnant that was later removed from the market she begins searching for other kids that might be like her. Her search becom ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "The Girl with the Silver Eyes" at Goodreads.com. »

"Chu's First Day of School" by Neil Gaiman

'Chu's First Day of School' by Neil Gaiman

★★★★ Like many children, Chu is nervous about his first day of school. He has the usual concerns and questions; what will happen in school, will they like him. Once he gets there, he discovers that he has to introduce himself to the other children by saying his name and one thing that he loves to do. That’s when he becomes very quiet and is reluctant to share, but then, finally, he has no choice because it all comes out. This is a cute, humor ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Chu's First Day of School" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Midnight Library" by Kazuno Kohara

'The Midnight Library' by Kazuno Kohara

★★★★ Imagine a library open only at night, frequented by owls, tortoises, wolves, squirrels and other animals and you have the premise for this simple picture book. Because the tortoise is slowly reading his book at the library, the little girl librarian suggests that he get a library card to check out his book and continue reading it at home. The woodcut illustrations in tones of black, blue and gold are clear and perfect at setting the evenin ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "The Midnight Library" at Goodreads.com. »

"My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.)" by Peter Brown

'My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.)' by Peter  Brown

★★★★★ Author and illustrator Peter Brown gives us another humorous read-aloud with “My Teacher Is a MONSTER!”. Bobby has a familiar problem: a teacher, Ms. Kirby, who is the bane of his existence. She reminds him to follow school rules by saying things like “no recess for children who throw paper airplanes in class”. In short, he thinks she is a monster. But then he runs into her in a park and, well, she doesn’t seem so bad. Wonderful ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.)" at Goodreads.com. »

"Lizzy Bennet's Diary: Inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice" by Marcia Williams

'Lizzy Bennet's Diary: Inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice' by Marcia Williams

★★★★★ Inspired by Jane Austen’s classic novel, “Pride and Prejudice”, we can easily believe that Elizabeth Bennet just might have written this diary. It is a fun re-imagining of Lizzy Bennet’s world through her eyes with realistic journal entries and cute drawings and captions filling each page. But it’s the realistic invitations, notes, and letters glued to the pages in scrapbook style that thrilled me the most. As a person who is ve ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Lizzy Bennet's Diary: Inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike, #2)" by Robert Galbraith

'The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike, #2)' by Robert Galbraith

★★★★ In the second installment of the Cormoran Strike series, we again meet Strike and his assistant Robin, who are called to find a missing novelist that has wandered before. Owen Quine is a generally disliked man whose latest novel is causing an uproar before it's even published, and Strike soon discovers his disappearance will not be an easy investigation. In Galbraith's usual excellent writing that always takes me right to the streets of Lo ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike, #2)" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Minnesota Farmers Market Cookbook: A Guide to Selecting and Preparing the Best Local Produce with Seasonal Recipes from Local Chefs and Farmers" by Tricia Cornell

'The Minnesota Farmers Market Cookbook: A Guide to Selecting and Preparing the Best Local Produce with Seasonal Recipes from Local Chefs and Farmers' by Tricia Cornell

★★★ Going to the farmer's market and need some ideas for what to make with your purchases? This book may be able to help. A variety of regionally grown produce is featured in this pretty cookbook. Each fruit or vegetable is featured individually and general facts are given on each one in addition to some recipes. I was hoping for more recipes than there were in the book, which left me less excited. It does do a good job of helping you to ident ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "The Minnesota Farmers Market Cookbook: A Guide to Selecting and Preparing the Best Local Produce with Seasonal Recipes from Local Chefs and Farmers" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Devil's Dozen: How Cutting-Edge Forensics Took Down 12 Notorious Serial Killers" by Katherine Ramsland

'The Devil's Dozen: How Cutting-Edge Forensics Took Down 12 Notorious Serial Killers' by Katherine Ramsland

★★★★ This non-fiction collection is comprised of cases of serial killers beginning with the nineteenth century through modern times, with a special caveat; all were solved with the most cutting-edge forensics of the day, by detectives that were unrelenting and dogged in their pursuit of the perpetrators of unspeakable crimes. H.H. Holmes (portrayed in "Devil in the White City"), was caught and found guilty with the use of new toxicology researc ...

Reviewed by Karen J. Read more reviews of "The Devil's Dozen: How Cutting-Edge Forensics Took Down 12 Notorious Serial Killers" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Art of Secrets" by James Klise

'The Art of Secrets' by James Klise

★★★★ Left homeless after a fire of unknown origin destroys their apartment, Saba Khan and her family’s lives are changed forever. Fellow students at Highsmith School decide to collect items for an auction to be held at school with the proceeds to be donated to Saba’s family. But when a rare and valuable painting worth hundreds of thousands of dollars gets donated to the auction, lies, secrets, jealously, deception, and greed become entwined ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "The Art of Secrets" at Goodreads.com. »

"A Mouthful of Stars: A Constellation of Favorite Recipes from My World Travels" by Kim Sunée

'A Mouthful of Stars: A Constellation of Favorite Recipes from My World Travels' by Kim Sunée

★★★★ Are you a lover of travel and exploring food? Then this is the cookbook for you! Kim has been a world traveler all of her life and uses this cookbook to highlight delicious recipes from her adventures across the globe. The pictures of the food are beautiful and her anecdotes included in each chapter add to our wanderlust as a reader. This is definitely a one of a kind cookbook and travel adventure. ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "A Mouthful of Stars: A Constellation of Favorite Recipes from My World Travels" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger

'The Time Traveler's Wife' by Audrey Niffenegger

★★★★★ This is the extraordinary love story of Clare, an artist, and Henry, a librarian and time traveler. Henry has known Clare since she was a little girl but doesn't know it until he meets her in real time where she knows who he is and is already in love with him. Discover the complexities of time travel through their love affair of the ages. You will not be able to put this book down and will be touched by the love that Clare and Henry share. ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "The Time Traveler's Wife" at Goodreads.com. »

"Will Grayson, Will Grayson" by John Green

'Will Grayson, Will Grayson' by John Green

★★★★ This is a hilarious story of how two different teenage boys with the exact same name come to meet one another and change each other's lives. I listened to this book twice on audio book and both times found myself laughing out loud on my commute! Both Will Grayson's lives are at a turning point in love, relationships, and life when their paths cross. The characters are larger than life who you will remember for a long time after closing the ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "Will Grayson, Will Grayson" at Goodreads.com. »

"Salvage Secrets Design & Decor: Transform Your Home with Reclaimed Materials" by Joanne Palmisano

'Salvage Secrets Design & Decor: Transform Your Home with Reclaimed Materials' by Joanne Palmisano

★★★★★ This book contains refreshing ideas for recreating your space with repurposed and recycled materials. What better way to make a truly one-of-a-kind and personalized space? I found some really beautiful ideas that I can't wait to incorporate into my home! ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Salvage Secrets Design & Decor: Transform Your Home with Reclaimed Materials" at Goodreads.com. »

"The Medici Boy" by John L'Heureux

'The Medici Boy' by John L'Heureux

★★★★ Set in fifteenth century Florence, this novel is written as a confession and memoir by Luca Mattei, a devoted assistant to the great artist Donatello. Luca writes about living in the infamously sinful city of Florence and about the intimate details of life in Donatello's workshop. A collision of politics, art, and forbidden passions, this is a tale full of secrets and an inside look at the persecution of great men for the personal gain of ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "The Medici Boy" at Goodreads.com. »

25 | Based on the Goodreads API.